Andrew Sullivan points to a Spencer Ackerman piece at the Danger Room in which he tries to estimate the total cost of the Libyan intervention. Ackerman notes that the official cost of war given by the Air Force is at around$75 million – with expenses at $4 million per day. Last week Sec. of Defense Gates told Congress that the cost of the war should be running at $40 million per month (what happened to “days, not weeks“…oh, right). Yet, could the Air Force and Gates be forgetting something? For example, I don’t know, the cost of the missiles?
A Tomahawk Missile cost $569,000 in FY99, so if my calculations are correct, they cost a little over $736,000 today assuming they are the same make and model. The United States fired 110 missiles yesterday [March 19, 2011], which adds up to a cost of around $81 million. That’s twice the size of the annual budget of USIP, which the House of Representatives wants to de-fund, and is about 33 times the amount of money National Public Radio receives in grants each year from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which the House of Representatives also wants to de-fund in the name of austerity measures.
The US has stopped its aerial combat mission (though Gates conceded that it may be forced to return to the Libyan skies), but will remain active in refueling, spying, and jamming missions instead. So certainly the per-day cost of our Libyan misadventure will decrease without the jet fighters, but can anyone really trust the figures that are being thrown around? And if the US is not able to end this war in the near future, the total cost of the war will continue to rise regardless. Good thing the United States is running a surplus…
Photo from Da Bloggerz